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Significantly better: the benefits for an academic institution focused on student learning outcomes

David Shupe (Director, Evaluation of Student Achievement, Elumen Collaborative, Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA.)

On the Horizon

ISSN: 1074-8121

Article publication date: 22 May 2007




The aim of this paper is to describe how a college or university can develop the organizational capacity to focus on student learning outcomes. It seeks to show how the consistent application of this capacity would provide not only a response to external expectations, but also unexpected benefits that, when taken together, would create a significantly better academic institution.


Six years of research and development, primarily as part of an expanding collaborative endeavor between participating colleges/universities and an independent academic R&D firm, has provided a laboratory for iteratively creating and testing new academic processes and supporting technologies.


Five essential elements of outcomes assessment, when incorporated into a system‐supported academic process, can enable an institution to generate data on actual student learning directly out of its regular program wherever and whenever it chooses to do so, with seven significant benefits.


The organizational capacity described in this paper directly overcomes organizational invisibility of student achievement within its educational program – a century‐old deficiency within higher education.



Shupe, D. (2007), "Significantly better: the benefits for an academic institution focused on student learning outcomes", On the Horizon, Vol. 15 No. 2, pp. 48-57.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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